Monday, January 18, 2016

Are Detention Raids Orchestrated for Profit?

We have been aware of intensified ICE activity in Alachua and Marion counties, part of the drive to round up women and children from Central America who crossed the border without papers.

Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights are trying to uncover whether these raids are primarily intended to meet bed quotas in for-profit detention centers:

Fighting government secrecy on immigration detention incentives

As Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids make headlines and generate outrage, CCR is pursuing a case that sheds some light on this situation. In 2014, together with our partners at Detention Watch Network, we filed aFreedom of Information Act lawsuit to force ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to disclose information about the so-called “detention bed quota.” Congress requires the agencies to fund 34,000 detention beds daily, and government contracts with private prison corporations – 62% of immigrant detainees are held in for-profit prisons – incentivize ICE and DHS to fill as many beds as possible.
The idea that immigrants are being rounded up, detained, and deported because of perverse incentives of the prison industrial complex is troubling, to say the least. But on top of it, ICE and DHS are fighting to keep information about those contracts secret; they have invoked an exemption in the FOIA rules that protects “commercial or financial information” in order to avoid public scrutiny of the pricing schemes. We will be filing our latest response to this argument with the court tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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